The beauty of a book purge

Plus a highly recommended classic and a way to find new favorite authors

Hey, readers!

This week I’ve been buried in books—not because I’ve been reading a ton (unfortunate, I know!) but because we’re beginning the process of migrating my books from their previous home in an upstairs office to the new built-in shelves in our living room. It’s been so fun to comb through my collection and be reminded of the stories I love and the ones I’m still dying to get to. A lot of the process involves sorting books into keep and give away piles, and while I usually find it difficult to part with my books, this time around it’s actually been enjoyable. I’m discovering that letting go of the books I’m no longer excited to read and the ones that I’ve read but never think about, frees both my shelf space and my mind for the books I really care about. It’s also helped me start planning my fall reading and which books I want to prioritize in the coming months. So if you find yourself in a similar position of needing to clear out some books, I’m here to tell you it can truly do wonders for your reading life!

This week in books.

This week I read…

  • The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor. I read this for an upcoming episode of Novel Pairings so I’m not going to say anything about it other than I absolutely loved it. You’ll be able to hear me gush about this in excess when the episode drops on August 17th, but in the meantime I’d urge everyone to just trust me and pick it up. There are definitely content warnings though, so be sure to check out what readers have to say on The Storygraph if you’re a sensitive reader. Thanks to friends and patrons Katie and Stacey for pressing this into my hands! Amazon | Bookshop

Now I’m reading…

  • Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead. I knew I wanted to read this because I really enjoyed both of Shipstead’s previous novels, but the length was keeping me from rushing into it. It’s a 600 page novel about a female pilot in the early 1900s and the 21st century actress who’s hired to play her in a biopic. After it made the Booker Prize longlist and a few trusted readers said the audio* version was well-done, I decided to go that route and I’m loving it. Amazon | Bookshop

  • Insurrecto by Gina Apostol. I’m 60 pages into this complicated piece of metafiction and I am so hooked. It’s hard for me to even explain what this is about but if things continue on as they are, this is bound to be a new favorite. I can’t wait to report back! Amazon | Bookshop

*You can get two LIBRO.FM audiobooks for the price of one with my link or by using code FICTIONMATTERS.

Links I love.

4 fabulous beach reads recommended by Meg Cabot.

I love it when Vox updates their best books of the year (so far) list.

After a year of expressing commitment to significant change, Romance Writers of America has another problem on its hands.

Summer’s best new releases according to Elle.

15 Indigenous bookstagram accounts to follow.

I’ve always found synchronized swimming strange and fascinating, but I had no idea about its recent rebranding and how it’s affected the athletes.

This literature map is so cool! You type in an author’s name and it gives you suggestions for other authors you might enjoy.

End notes.

Watching: The White Lotus on HBO Max. It is deeply strange and highly entertaining.

Listening: I really appreciated all of the info about the delta variant in this episode of The Ezra Klein Show.

Making: Significant progress on organizing the new shelves! I can’t wait for you to see the finished product.

Loving: Our new air purifier. The air quality in Denver is the worst it’s ever been and investing in a purification system has helped me breath easier.

For more on what I’ve been reading, watching, listening to, making, and loving, check out my July Favorites post on the FictionMatters blog.


Readers, I hope your last month of summer is off to a great start! For questions, comments, or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to reach out by emailing fictionmattersbooks@gmail.com or responding directly to this newsletter. I love hearing from you!

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Happy reading!

Sara